Tag Archives: mont blanc

Chestnut fever

Large marroni for 5,99€/kilo

We’ve had them oven-roasted, boiled, turned into puree, cooked in rice (kurigohan style), and I think I’ll try dipping some in chocolate tonight. This was a terrific year for chestnuts, but even though the harvest has ended in our neighborhood, supermarkets will likely have them stocked for at least another few weeks.

I bought 13 of the large marroni variety. Enormous and beautiful, yhey’re quite impressive next to the chestnuts I collect here. Yet every single time, no matter where I get them from, most turn out rotten inside and not usable at all.

One of the marroni next to the dachshund’s paw!

But as I’ve said, you don’t always get what you expect. Marroni are easier to peel, yet out of the thirteen, 2 turned out perfect with another 2 partially blemished. You can see a couple of rejects in the container.

Prepping for a Mont Blanc dessert: homemade chestnut puree, freshly whipped cream, finely chopped candied chestnuts. I’ll add my non-recipe for the puree at the end.

I take shortcuts wherever necessary, so store-purchased sponge cake layers it is!

3-inch sponge cake cut-outs filled with a whipped cream/chopped chestnut mixture. Half of a boiled chestnut on top, dollop of whipped cream, and silly chestnut string to finish. Sweet bliss.

To make the puree: place 2 heaping cups of unpeeled chestnuts in a large pot of water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, cut chestnuts in half, squeeze/scoop out the flesh into a clean pot. If cooked well enough, the flesh will be crumbly.

Cover the cooked chestnuts with milk and bring to a simmer; continue to cook for about 20 minutes then sweeten to taste (taste the milk) with granulated or brown sugar.

Strain mixture (you can save the delicious milk for breakfast granola) and scoop into the container of an immersion blender. Blend until smooth, adding a tiny amount of milk if it is too stiff (you want a consistency that will pipe easily but not be too runny). Press the puree through a fine mesh sieve; store and refrigerate in an airtight container. Will keep for up to 3 days.

Gran Bollito Cremonese

Il Piacere della Carne / the pleasure of the flesh. Process that one in either italian or english, it still sounds like a romp in the sack. But for lovers of italian cuisine, the Gran Bollito Misto (mixed boiled meats) is not quite as naughty as it sounds, and gave me another good reason to cross one more off the list of my 10 favorite winter dishes.

Gran Bollito Misto: mostarda, chicken, cotechino, testina, beef, bed roll, I meant bread roll (drat those freudian slips!). Eat in or take out. We took ours to go like many others who had the same idea. The event was held in Cremona’s auditorium on Sunday, Dec. 8th, and is part of a campaign by Strada del Gusto Cremonese to promote tourism through its cuisine.

No great meal goes without a just dessert, and Lanfranchi’s pasticceria (which just happened to be across the street from the bollito misto) brought me to my knees when I caught sight of their Mont Blanc. I have been searching for this dessert since…forever, but had no success until this past Sunday. I know it’s a seasonal thing but is Japan and France the only places where they Mont Blanc up the ying yang? Ditto for the marron glacé tart. Just think, if I hadn’t run out of mostarda…